Holiday weekend in SD and Anaheim

Hi friends! Happy Wednesday! I hope you’re having a wonderful week. I can’t believe that we’re fully into holiday mode – I feel like it snuck up on us this year – and that there are so many things going on in the next couple of weeks. Liv’s class has their holiday party, we have Nutcracker and Zoo Lights with friends, and before we know it, we’ll be eating enchiladas at my dad’s house on Christmas Eve. We’re going to do all of our holiday baking this weekend, so if you have any standout recipes, please let me know! (I definitely have these, these, and these on the agenda so far.)

Beach w my loves

We’re back from an incredible trip to Anaheim and San Diego. Usually when we get back from a vacation, I’m a little bummed, but pretty ready to get back into *real life.* This particular trip felt really different. I literally felt a weight of sadness when the plane landed in Tucson yesterday. It’s probably because this was one of my very favorite trips with the girls. They seem like they’re at an ideal age for travel – I feel like we finally made it!!!- and nothing about the trip felt like work. It was pure joy. Traveling when they were babies was awesome, but there’s something really freeing about zero pack n’ plays, diapers, wipes, multiple outfit changes, or fear they’ll be shrieking and crying on the flight, ya know? (Parents with newborns: hang in there. There is a light at the end of the travel tunnel!) The whole weekend was filled with so much fun and magic; I wasn’t read for it to be over.

California adventure

We flew into San Diego on Friday, and we headed straight to pick up on our rental car. Last time, they upgraded me to a van and the girls acted like they won the lottery. I got a van again to surprise them and P cried after our trip and “her vam” was gone. She was equally devastated and disgusted to see my real car when this whole thing was over.

After we got the famous van, we grabbed a quick snack at beloved Tiki Port


and hit the road to Anaheim. 

Usually we drive up to Anaheim on Saturday morning. I had a feeling traffic might be a little bad on a Friday afternoon, but we went for it anyway. It was horrible, and took 4 hours to get there instead of 1.5. The girls were extremely patient despite the long delays, and when we finally checked into the hotel, we ordered room service for dinner (which was delicious) and called it a night.

Room service

Saturday morning, we were ready to hit the parks! 

We spent two days moving between California Adventure and Disneyland. The first day we rode a ton of rides, and the second day, we focused more on parades and shows.

Some of the highlights:

wearing ugly Christmas sweaters together

Christmas at disney

the girls meeting Gaston

W gaston

(P was unimpressed and the guy who portrayed him was HILARIOUS)

the holiday parade,

the girls’ face painting,

Faces painted

(Livi got a mermaid mask and P thought her face paint transformed her into a real tiger)

Baby tiger

watching the girls interact with all of the characters

W cinderella

riding Indiana Jones by myself and screaming the entire time, 

all of the incredible holiday decor,


and this macaron the size of my face.

Macaron of my dreams

You guys. The holiday food at California Adventure is insane right now. As we walked by each food cart, the scene was usually something like this,

“Ohmygod, did you see that? Stuffing mac n’ cheese?”

“I’m looking at that channa masala.”

“No wait, I think I want to try the shrimp and grits.”

“We’re sharing a sangria, right?”

And it went on and on and on. While Disneyland food can be hit or miss

Bengel bbq

(we did find a new fave in Adventureland: Bengal Barbecue!),

I feel like California Adventure has really stepped up their snack and beverage game. I feel like it’s almost turned into a mini Epcot with all of the food and cocktail destinations. We were wondering what took the place of Coco land, and were stoked to see that it’s an Elena-devoted area with live music, an Elena parade, character meetings, and Mexican food. It’s like a mini Epcot-esque Mexican pavilion. I really hope it stays this way! We listened to a Cuban band and ate chili rellenos and burritos one night, and it was awesome.

W madre at the beach

We were so lucky that madre was able to join us for another trip! We all have the best time with her, so we were thrilled when she took the weekend off work to come play with us. It was also really helpful at the parks because P is a little daredevil and wants to ride ALL THE RIDES, while Liv is a bit more apprehensive. This way, I could take P on some of the more intense rides and madre and Liv could hang out in the gift shop or people-watch. We still did 90% of the activities together, but this way they were each able to have the experience they wanted. 

W 3 amigos

(Livi’s dress is here and P’s shirt is here)

After two full days at Disney, we drove back down to San Diego and made a stop at Kid Ventures in Liberty Station for the girls to play. They ran around playing for a couple of hours until we were all ready for lunch at the Public Market. All of the classics were there, and of course I got my favorite poke bowl.

Poke from liberty station

We also shared deserts from Crafted,


(the remnants of a brookie: brownie on the bottom, cookie on top)

and drove over to Coronado to spend the night. 

We got there just in time to watch the Grinch and chill in the hotel for a bit, then bundled up to play on the beach for a couple of hours and watch the sunset.

Coconado sunset

I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget the girls chasing each other up to where the ocean meets the sand, then running back, giggling to themselves.

On the beach

They really are the best little friends.

Best friends

After we “got our feet wet” (which always equals completely drenched legs and pants), they played on the hotel playground, and we headed over to the Del to walk around and shop. (Check out my holiday review of the Hotel del Coronado here!) I remembered that they had ice skating, and the girls were both so excited to try it. At first, I took turns taking each girl around the loop while the other one stayed back with madre. They were both like little noodle legs and it was a serious core workout trying to keep everyone upright. 

Ice skating

By the end of our hour of skating, both girls could make it around the entire loop and didn’t want me to hold their hand or touch them in any way. P held onto the wall and took little steps while I skated next to her, and Liv was ahead of us, away from the wall, doing her thing. Madre took pictures and videos of us skating around, but somehow missed my triple salchow and toe loop. Oh well. Next time.

Ice skating at the del

We were ready for hot drinks (cocoas for the girls, a hot toddy for meeeeeee) and went to their pizza restaurant, ENO for cheese board, salad, and margherita pizza. Of course, the girls had ice cream from the parlor next door because vacation mode. (This weekend was the most delicious avalanche of sugar.) The next morning came a little too quickly and we were packed up and heading to the airport!

Heading home

(P’s sweater is here and Livi is wearing these cute Mickey leggings)

While we were at the Del, I was thinking this definitely needs to become a tradition. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I think we should head to Disney and Coronado for a bit. It added so much to the magic of the season and it was such a welcomed bit of downtime and bliss during an otherwise hectic (but wonderful!) time of year.

I hope you’re having a lovely week, too. Do you have any vacation traditions each year? Are you traveling in the next couple of months??

I’ll be back in the morning with the last gift guide for the year + one more giveaway!


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  1. Kat on December 12, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Do you have a recommendations besides The Del to stay in Coronado? We are trying for a long weekend in Feb but it is booked!

    • Jen on December 12, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Totally butting in, but my husband and I spent some time in San Diego on our honeymoon last year and we stayed
      at the Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside and it was fantastic. It was walkable or a short uber ride to most of the places we wanted to go and the staff was awesome. It’s definitely not the Del, but it was decent!

    • Fitnessista on December 13, 2018 at 12:59 am

      i’ve only stayed at the del and on base and they’re both wonderful! there seems like there’s a ton of cute hotels there, though

  2. Karlee on December 12, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    That looks like such a fun trip! My girls are close in age to P and Livi and I haven’t done much traveling alone with them – does the Pilot ever feel left out? My husband has a tricky schedule as a fire fighter that makes planning things difficult, and now you’ve got me itching to take a girls trip!

    • Fitnessista on December 13, 2018 at 12:58 am

      i think he definitely wishes he could go, but at the same time, he doesn’t want us sitting around twiddling our thumbs when he’s working. he’s happy that we go out and have fun together! i found out a while ago that the military makes it very very hard to plan anything. so you have to just go for it and hope they can join you

  3. Laura on December 12, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Love Disney at Xmas! We are heading to Disneyworld this weekend. Should be fun! I will think of you as I am eating my Mickey rice krispie treat!

    • Fitnessista on December 13, 2018 at 12:56 am

      ahhh enjoy! i hope you have the best time!

  4. Shel on December 12, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    What is the temp of the beach water around this time of year? I am on the east Coast and its freezing!!! It never seems to get warm until about August and then it starts getting cold again around the end of September. I would love to dip my toes in the water but they would be little blocks of ice. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on December 13, 2018 at 12:56 am

      it was super cold. not quite freezing – like i could touch it and it just felt chilly – but i feel like the pacific is always cold

  5. Barb on December 12, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    What a wonderful trip! Where is the Pilot?

    • D on December 12, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Yes, we are overdue for an update! I know Gina’s been saying she would write one…but I am dying waiting for it (and hoping if he’s deployed, that he’ll be home in time for Christmas!)

      • Ash on December 12, 2018 at 7:41 pm

        I wouldn’t really say we are overdue for an update considering she doesn’t owe us any explanation Also think, has there ever been something you really don’t want to talk about and people with perfectly innocent intentions ask you questions not realizing it’s hurting you in some way? Not trying to be rude, just a reminder is all ?? I don’t even wish people Merry Christmas or happy Mother/Father’s Day, because even though it’s a kind gesture,it could be a touchy subject for some people.

        • Fitnessista on December 13, 2018 at 12:54 am


      • Fitnessista on December 13, 2018 at 12:55 am

        i will definitely be writing an update as soon as i can <3

    • Fitnessista on December 13, 2018 at 12:56 am

      he’s not here right now. when the time is right, i’ll write about everything

  6. Sarah Jane on December 12, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Looks like a fun trip. We are slowly making our way through our holiday baking, I make one item a night after work with my girls. We tried a new recipe the other night, 10 Minute Microwave Caramels. So easy and they turned out so well. This is the recipe that I followed:

  7. Tracy on December 12, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    So nice that your mom could tag along! I bet the girls loved that as much as you did.

    We love to visit my snowbird parents in FL at Xmas but haven’t the last couple of years. We’re hoping to go next year!

    My husband and I are planning a trip to AZ in February! (We were going to go to the Southeast coast like I previously asked you for suggestions but changed plans). I can’t wait to go somewhere warm!

    • Fitnessista on December 13, 2018 at 12:55 am

      where in AZ are you headed?!

      • Tracy on December 13, 2018 at 2:21 pm

        Haven’t quite decided, but Phoenix, Tucson or Sedona 🙂 I’m hoping you’ll do a Tucson post soon!

  8. Beth on December 12, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Where did you stay at Disneyland?
    How were the crowds?

    • Fitnessista on December 13, 2018 at 12:54 am

      we stayed at the hilton anaheim. it wasn’t as great as it usually is, though, so i’m looking for something new for next time!
      it was definitely a crowded weekend, but with fast passes it wasn’t bad at all

      • Kim on December 13, 2018 at 12:15 pm

        I am also curious about the crowds – I’ve only been to Disney World so I’m wondering how you would compare them?

  9. Ciara on December 13, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Do you ever wish you could move back to San Diego? My husband and I visited once a few years ago and I think about it almost every day haha It’s my dream to go back and somehow convince him to never leave!

  10. Carrie on December 13, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    I’m cracking up that you and the girls are all bundled up and the people behind you are ice skating in T-shirts, lol.

  11. Brandy H. on December 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Oh my gosh! You were at Disneyland the same time as my hubby and I!!! Darn! I would have loved to ran into and met you! I am glad you girls had such a good time. I love Disney at Christmas time, it’s so magical!!! We told our kids they can come with us in October, haha!

  12. Stephanie S. on December 19, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Such a cute picture of the three of you with the luggage cart!! <3 Sounds like a wonderful trip!

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